Γρύψ! (Griffin)

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The griffin, griffon, or gryphon (Greek: γρύφων, grýphōn, or γρύπων, grýpōn, early form γρύψ, grýps; Latin: gryphus) is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. As the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle was the king of the birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. The griffin was also thought of as king of the creatures. Griffins are known for guarding treasure and priceless possessions.[1] Adrienne Mayor, a classical folklorist, proposes that the griffin was an ancient misconception derived from the fossilized remains of the Protoceratops found in gold mines in the Altai mountains of Scythia, in present day southeastern Kazakhstan, or in Mongolia.[2] In antiquity it was a symbol of divine power and a guardian of the divine.[3] Some have suggested that the word griffin is cognate with Cherub.[4]

While griffins are most common in the art and lore of Ancient Greece, there is evidence of representations of griffins in Ancient Persian and Ancient Egyptian art as far back as 3,300 BC.[5][6] Most statues have bird-like talons, although in some older illustrations griffins have a lion's forelimbs; they generally have a lion's hindquarters. Its eagle's head is conventionally given prominent ears; these are sometimes described as the lion's ears, but are often elongated (more like a horse's), and are sometimes feathered. The earliest depiction of griffins are the 15th century BC frescoes in the Throne Room of the Bronze Age Palace of Knossos, as restored by Sir Arthur Evans. It continued being a favored decorative theme in Archaic and Classical Greek art. In Central Asia the griffin appears about a thousand years after Bronze Age Crete, in the 5th–4th centuries BC, probably originating from the Achaemenid Persian Empire. The Achaemenids considered the griffin "a protector from evil, witchcraft and secret slander".[7] The modern generalist calls it the lion-griffin, as for example, Robin Lane Fox, in Alexander the Great, 1973:31 and notes p. 506, who remarks a lion-griffin attacking a stag in a pebble mosaic Dartmouth College expedition at Pella, perhaps as an emblem of the kingdom of Macedon or a personal one of Alexander's successor Antipater. The Pisa Griffin is a large bronze sculpture which has been in Pisa in Italy since the Middle Ages, though it is of Islamic origin. It is the largest bronze medieval Islamic sculpture known, at over three feet tall (42.5 inches, or 1.08 m.), and was probably created in the 11th century in Al-Andaluz (Islamic Spain).[8] From about 1100 it was placed on a column on the roof of Pisa Cathedral until replaced by a replica in 1832; the original is now in the Museo dell' Opera del Duomo (Cathedral Museum), Pisa. Infrequently, a griffin is portrayed without wings, or a wingless eagle-headed lion is identified as a griffin; in 15th-century and later heraldry such a beast may be called an alce or a keythong. In heraldry, a griffin always has forelegs like an eagle's hindlegs; the beast with forelimbs like a lion's forelegs was distinguished by perhaps only one English herald of later heraldry as the opinicus.

Griffins not only mated for life, but also, if either partner died, then the other would continue throughout the rest of its life alone, never to search for a new mate. The griffin was thus made an emblem of the Church's views on remarriage[dubious – discuss]. A Hippogriff is a legendary creature, supposedly the offspring of a griffin and a mare. Being a union of a terrestrial beast and an aerial bird, it was seen in Christendom to be a symbol of Jesus, who was both human and divine. As such it can be found sculpted on some churches.[1] According to Stephen Friar's New Dictionary of Heraldry, a griffin's claw was believed to have medicinal properties and one of its feathers could restore sight to the blind.[1] Goblets fashioned from griffin claws (actually antelope horns) and griffin eggs (actually ostrich eggs) were highly prized in medieval European courts.[9] When it emerged as a major seafaring power in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, griffins commenced to be depicted as part of the Republic of Genoa's coat of arms, rearing at the sides of the shield bearing the Cross of St. George. By the 12th century the appearance of the griffin was substantially fixed: "All its bodily members are like a lion's, but its wings and mask are like an eagle's."[10] It is not yet clear if its forelimbs are those of an eagle or of a lion. Although the description implies the latter, the accompanying illustration is ambiguous. It was left to the heralds to clarify that.


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Comments (90)

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Farkas István on November 19, 2012

Amazing picture!!! LIKE. Best regards,István.

Dezso Biczo © on November 19, 2012

Really impressive 


My friendly greeting,

Dezso Biczo © - Panoramio Photo Viewer

gisela 28 on November 19, 2012

Good work, LIKE Gisela

Krystyna Koch on November 19, 2012

Interesting piece of art. Very nice shot! L * F Greetings, Krystyna.

Pantelis65 on November 19, 2012

Πολύ όμορφη εικόνα. Αρέσει+YS χαιρετισμούς, Παντελής.

Alberto Asensio on November 19, 2012

L 8 por la foto y mi felicitación por la belleza del trabajo del grifo. Saludos.

İsmail Taşoğlu (yemt… on November 19, 2012

çok güzel foto..


Selamlar, İsmail

József Rózsa on November 20, 2012

Hello my friend, Makis !

Impressive photo L+F !!!! Friendly greetings, József

asanloj on November 20, 2012

¡¡¡LIKE !!!

Buts Yuri on November 20, 2012

Beautiful detail! LIKE-13 ! Many greetings, Buts_YV

Guizel J.c on November 20, 2012

Excellent shot and beautiful detail



Adriana Bruno on November 20, 2012

LIKE, bella ripresa! Un saluto, Adriana

♥ ♥ Osho Angel ♥ ♥ on November 20, 2012


el indio JC on November 20, 2012




Marie-France Berthel… on November 20, 2012

like 18 : Belle représentation du GRIFFON ! et merci pour les explications tres interressantes !M-France

KWO Tsoumenis on November 20, 2012

Φοβερή εικόνα αλλά και σχόλια του γρυπός...

Η θηλυκιά στη δημοτική ονομάζεται γρύπη???


Χαιρετισμούς από τη ζεστή Λευκωσία :-)

Mircea_RAICU on November 20, 2012

Looks great !

Rafl on November 20, 2012

ILIKE and Ystar! rafl

Rol/Photo/Alsace on November 20, 2012

Superbe portrait...bien cadré.. YSL

Amitiés, roland

Omar Gobbi on November 20, 2012

very beautiful photographic work, <LIKE>, best regards, "Omar"

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on November 19, 2012
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by makis-GREECE ®
    • Camera: Canon EOS 1000D
    • Taken on 2012/10/06 16:29:06
    • Exposure: 0.002s (1/640)
    • Focal Length: 63.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/11.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash